Bright Eyes

Noise Floor (Rarities 1998-2001) | Saddle Creek
By SAM MACLAUGHLIN  |  January 16, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
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Too often, B-sides and rarities are B-sides and rarities for a reason. But Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst is one of those songwriters who’s as musically adventurous as he is prolific. So with lots of years to cover, and so many variations in the Bright Eyes line-up over those years, Noise Floor is a tour through all the twists and turns he’s taken his band through in a relatively short period. Weepy bedroom solipsism is met by sharp social commentary, lonely acoustics with warm big-band arrangements and new-waved electronics. “I’ve Been Eating (for You)” is anorectic in lyrics and music, and “Blue Angels Air Show” never makes it off the ground. But then there’s “Weather Reports,” an acoustic number rendered heartbreaking by Maria Taylor’s understated back-up vocals. And “The Trees Get Wheeled Away,” a countrified consideration of life on stage. Noise Floor is a smattering of moods and modes all tied together by Oberst’s love-it-or-loathe-it voice. Which is a pretty good summation of Bright Eyes.
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